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Pepe Oriola leads Craft-Bamboo 1-2 in race two

Pepe Oriola led a Craft-Bamboo Racing 1-2 in the second TCR International Series race in Georgia, with Hugo Valente finishing in second, although both drivers remain under investigation for possibly passing under yellow flags.

The duo moved past the reversed-grid pole sitter Giacomo Altoè half-way around the opening lap. The incident remains under investigation as the yellow flags and safety car subsequently came out around the same time after the DG Sport Compétition Opel of Mat’o Homola was knocked into the Turn 1 gravel on the opening lap by circuit owner Shota Abkhazava.

When the race resumed, Oriola proceeded to open up a comfortable advantage over team-mate Valente, which stood at just over four seconds in the closing laps of the race.

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Valente had no challenge to his more experienced team-mate and settled for his first TCR podium in second, whilst M1RA’s Attila Tassi took his second podium in TCR with third, having also got past fellow countryman Altoè on the opening lap.

Leopard Racing’s Jean-Karl Vernay finished in fourth, following up his earlier sixth in race one to ensure that consistency means he is just 12 points off the championship lead.

After missing out on points in race one, GE-Force’s Dušan Borković finished in fifth, although the Serbian driver had his work cut out in the closing laps to keep a train of cars behind him.

The second M1RA Honda of Roberto Colciago took sixth, although the veteran Italian enjoyed a hard late-race battle with the third Craft-Bamboo Racing car of James Nash, who took seventh. Both drivers had earlier been battling with Zele Racing’s Ferenc Ficza, but the Hungarian made contact with Colciago in the process and retired from the race on the exit of Turn 1 after 14 laps.

That left Georgian hero Davit Kajaia to claim eighth, and as a result the Alfa Romeo driver leaves his home race as the leader of the drivers’ championship standings, with a three-point advantage over Oriola.

West Coast Racing’s Gianni Morbidelli took the chequered flag in ninth, having seemingly let Colciago through at the half-way stage, before settling for points finishes. Pierre-Yves Corthals took his and Opel’s first points of the season with tenth.

Following his controversial clash with Vernay after race one, Comini’s Comtoyou team faced a race against time to repair his car ahead of race two. Whilst that was achieved, and the Swiss started from the pitlane, he retired from the race with further issues on his Audi after six laps whilst running in 11th.

Race result

1 74 Pepe ORIOLA Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 17 29:40.114 42.657 2
2 7 Hugo VALENTE Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 17 4.056 43.134 3
3 9 Attila TASSI M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 17 4.823 42.926 9
4 2 Jean-Karl VERNAY Leopard Racing Team WRT Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 17 5.466 42.798 7
5 62 Dušan BORKOVIĆ GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 17 16.878 43.731 13
6 5 Roberto COLCIAGO M1RA Honda Civic Type-R TCR 17 18.258 43.042 6
7 54 James NASH Lukoil Craft-Bamboo Racing SEAT León TCR 17 19.012 43.445 11
8 16 Davit KAJAIA GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 17 19.835 43.568 10
9 10 Gianni MORBIDELLI West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 17 20.271 43.846 4
10 23 Pierre-Yves CORTHALS DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 17 33.498 44.498 14
11 21 Giacomo ALTOÈ West Coast Racing Volkswagen Golf GTi TCR 17 34.127 43.851 1
12 18 Duncan ENDE Icarus Motorsports SEAT León TCR 17 42.065 44.493 15
R 55 Ferenc FICZA Zele Racing SEAT León TCR 14 DNF 43.182 8
R 1 Stefano COMINI Comtoyou Racing Audi RS3 LMS TCR 6 DNF 45.792 5
R 15 Shota ABKHAZAVA GE-Force Alfa Romeo Giulietta TCR 1 DNF N/A 16
R 70 Mat’o HOMOLA DG Sport Compétition Opel Astra TCR 0 DNF N/A 12
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